CASSVILLE — With snow and chilly temperatures, Roaring River State Park in southwest Missouri had smaller crowds this year for the opening of the state's trout season.
Superintendent Dusty Reid said the park prepared for a huge opening day with about 3,300 fishermen with 7,200 fish and 50 lunkers stocked.
But because of the weather, the park had sold 1,950 permits by Sunday afternoon. About a half-inch of snow was on the ground and temperatures were below freezing.
"When I left my house in the park at 4:30 a.m., the temperature was 8 degrees," Reid said. "Those that braved the ice and snow on the roads were rewarded with a beautiful, sunny Sunday."
The record of 3,504 anglers was set in 1981.
Despite the weather, Rose Thomas of Bella Vista, Ark., stuck with family tradition started by her father-in-law and camped out in a tent at the park Saturday night.
"He always made opening day a tradition for the family," she said. "He taught his boys to fish since they were little."
That determination paid off for Thomas, who later spent 45 minutes reeling in a 9.2-pound lunker.
Chris and Angela Seymour of Cassville noticed the extra elbow room along the banks.
For the past 10 years, they have walked the crowded banks, handing out cups of coffee to bleary-eyed fishermen.
"Even when it's cold, everyone's happy though," Angela Seymour said. "There's just a little less chaos this year."
Dan Campbell was another fisherman with good luck Sunday. After hitting the limit with four fish just 20 minutes after the start, Campbell maneuvered up and down the slick rocks along the river.
"I usually like to go around and help others with their rigs and stuff," Campbell said as he helped his 11-year-old nephew untangle a line. "I've enjoyed coming here since I was a kid in 1976, and it's great to help the younger kids that show up. Lots of kids, if it's this cold, they don't come out."